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New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs : What's new : Frequently Asked Questions: Bilingual Birth Certificates Skip to Access Key assignments for this site
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Frequently Asked Questions: Bilingual Birth Certificates

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Frequently Asked Questions: Bilingual Birth Certificates


Q. What is a bilingual birth certificate? How do they differ from the previous birth certificates? When will they be issued?

A bilingual birth certificate includes a Maori translation of the key data field names eg the field words “Name”, “Address” and “Date of birth” will be provided in Te Reo Maori as well as English.

All new birth certificates issued from 1 March 2004 onwards will be bilingual.

Q Will the electronic printout of documents be bilingual?

No. The electronic printout is an image of the original record and is not bilingual.

Q Why are they being introduced?

The bilingual birth certificates are being introduced to ensure English and Maori languages are reflected on birth certificates as Te Reo Maori is an official language of New Zealand, and the English language is the major common language in use in New Zealand. This is consistent with other information provided by Government to customers. The Department of Internal Affairs has issued a bilingual passport for several years. Much of the customer information on our website is available in both English and Te Reo Maori.

These initiatives are also being made to support the government strategy for Te Reo Maori,
by showing it is a viable language that can be used for all modern usages. It also provides this country with a unique language identity in the rest of the world.

Decorative birth certificates will be issued in early 2006 and reflect a movement towards providing additional features and options with New Zealand birth certificates.

Q. How does the introduction of the certificate support Te Reo Maori?

By including Te Reo Maori translation of the birth certificate the Department of Internal Affairs is giving support to the Government’s strategy for Te Reo Maori.

Q. Are we proposing to include other languages on the certificates?

No, there are no plans to include other languages at this stage.

Q. Will bilingual death and marriage certificates be introduced?

We plan to issue them at a later stage.

Q. I don’t wish to have a bilingual birth certificate? Can I have a certificate in English or
Te Reo Maori only?

No, the certificates issued from 1 March are bilingual only.

Q. Will the cost of getting a birth certificate change as the result of it being bilingual?

No, the fee will not change as a result of being bilingual.

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Last updated: 03/10/2005